Mercedes plan to drive on regardless, says Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has made clear there will be no let-up from Mercedes despite a crushing season-opening victory in Australia on Sunday.

Hamilton finished 1.3 seconds clear of Rosberg, but was never in any danger of relinquishing a lead he held for all bar two of the 58 laps around Melbourne’s Albert Park.

However, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has slated rules he claims are killing Formula One and warned billionaire benefactor Dietrich Mateschitz could pull the plug on the team if he loses his passion for the sport.

Marko’s remarks come the day after team principal Christian Horner called on the FIA for an equalisation of the regulations following Mercedes’ crushing one-two start to the season in the Australian Grand Prix, spearheaded by Lewis Hamilton.

Horner further suggested fans will turn away from F1 if Mercedes are not reined in as the German manufacturing giant has now won 17 of the last 20 races.

Horner’s comments drew short shrift from Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff who told his rivals to simply stop bleating and get on with trying to do a better job if they are to catch up.

Now Marko has added his voice, which will likely be viewed as sour grapes given Red Bull’s slide after winning four consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles from 2010 to 2013.

Marko has made clear there is growing disillusionment with what has transpired since the arrival of the current power units at the start of last season.

“We will evaluate the situation again as every year and look into costs and revenues,” said Marko. “If we are totally dissatisfied we could contemplate an F1 exit. The danger is there that Mateschitz loses his passion for F1.”

Although Red Bull were the only other team to win a race last season — with Daniel Ricciardo triumphant on three occasions — the Milton Keynes-based marque has struggled with power-unit supplier Renault.

Notably at Melbourne’s Albert Park the team were down on power compared to Mercedes and Ferrari, with Horner making his displeasure clear post race.

Slating the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged systems, Marko added: “These power units are the wrong solution for F1. We would say this even if Renault were in the lead.”

The best of the rest in Australia was Sebastian Vettel on his debut for Ferrari, albeit with the four-times champion 34.5secs adrift, but leaving Hamilton in no doubt he is a danger for the year.

“The Ferraris have taken a huge step forward. It’s clear they’ve made one of the biggest steps,” Hamilton said.

“So we definitely cannot back off because I’m sure they’re going to be pushing, and I anticipate we might have a good fight with them at some stage this year.”

Hamilton can only thank his lucky stars for the efforts Mercedes have again put in, giving him a car that will certainly have him pushing for a third world title.

“It’s unreal, absolutely unreal,” Hamilton said of Mercedes.

“When I talk to you about how good this team is, it’s hard for you to realise how good, but if you went to the factory you would realise it is a really special team.

“I know anyone would want to be here – thankfully I am, and I’m still doing the job.”

Come the podium ceremony there was a treat for the leading trio as they were interviewed by Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Hamilton was left wide-eyed, adding: “I felt it a real honour to meet Arnold. I’m a real fan of his, so I was really shocked to see him. It was really cool.”


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